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SKODA presents twelve outstanding old-timers from its 118-year history

ŠKODA at the Techno Classica: 12 milestones in the company’s history

March 26, 2014: From L&K motorcycles and the first L&K automobile to the ŠKODA Forman Anniversary: ​​ŠKODA celebrates 50 years of the ŠKODA 1000 MB

Mladá Boleslav, 26 March 2014 – ŠKODA AUTO will be presenting twelve milestones of the company’s 119-year history at this year’s Techno Classica in Essen. The phalanx of the classics from Mladá Boleslav ranges from the motorcycles and the first automobile of the ŠKODA founders, Laurin and Klement, the ŠKODA legends of the 1930s, 40s and 50s through to the ŠKODA Forman dating back to 1993. The one thing all the vehicles have in common is the outstanding importance they had for the brand and models in each period.

“ŠKODA is one of the longest-established vehicle manufacturers in the world,” explains Michal Velebný, Restoration Workshop Manager at the ŠKODA Museum. “In the history of the company, spanning almost 119 years, there have been a number of vehicles that set the course for the company and the brand. We will be presenting twelve of these milestones at the Techno Classica, including a replica of the first L&K automobile.” The ŠKODA stand is located in Messe Essen’s Hall 7. The presentation will be in association with ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland.

The two ŠKODA founding fathers Václav Laurin and Václav Klement (L&K) laid the foundation stone of the ŠKODA brand’s success at the end of the 19th century with the production of bicycles, and motorbikes from 1899. By presenting three motorized bicycles from the L&K early years, ŠKODA will be taking Techno Classica visitors on a journey back in time to the roots of the brand. An L&K Motocykleta TB dating back to 1902, an L&K Motocykleta L 80 from 1903, as well as an L&K Motocykleta CCR from 1905 will be on show in Essen.

In December 1905, L&K presented the new company’s first car: the so-called Voiturette A (French: little carriage or small car). At the Techno Classica, ŠKODA will be presenting a faithfully constructed, roadworthy vehicle as would have been seen in 1906. The Voiturette A was a huge hit in its time, not least because of the water-cooled engine and the low price of only 3,600 crowns. Under the bonnet you will find a 7-hp two-cylinder engine with a displacement of 1,100cm3.

In Essen, ŠKODA will be displaying one of the most successful L&K models ever – the L&K Typ S dating back to 1911. Between 1911 and 1925 more than 2,000 of these vehicles were produced in various versions. The customers particularly appreciated the model’s excellent reliability. The Type S was powered by a 14-hp four-cylinder with 1,771 cm3 displacement.

In June 1925 L&K merged with the ŠKODA plants in Pilsen, which was already the largest Czech industrial company of that time. The luxury-class model L&K ŠKODA Type 110 on display at the Techno Classica is a special representative of its time, in that it bears the logos of both companies – both L&K and ŠKODA.

The Škoda Popular was a revolutionary lightweight and inexpensive vehicle concept released in1934. The ŠKODA Popular fulfilled the long-awaited dream of owning a car for a broad range of customers. At the same time the Popular founded a new successful Škoda Generation of vehicles with modern a central tube frame (instead of the previously-seem lead frame), OHV engines and sophisticated technology. Over 5,000 of the vehicle were sold between 1934 and 1945. The example on display in Essen is a ŠKODA 420 Popular Roadster from 1935.

The ŠKODA 1200 was a milestone for ŠKODA in the period after the Second World War in the spring of 1952. One special feature was the initial design based on a metal chassis instead of the usual mixed construction made of wood and sheet metal. Moreover, this notchback sedan was the first ŠKODA to be tested in the wind tunnel. The no less important ŠKODA 440 from the museum inventory will also be on show in Essen. The ŠKODA 440 was the manufacturer’s answer to the growing demand from the Czechs for an inexpensive, populist and modern vehicle. The number 440 stood for four cylinders and power of 40 hp. The vehicle was named Spartak in local slang. The model rolled off the production lines for five years and a total of 75,417 the vehicles were produced.

The ŠKODA 1000 MB will be celebrating its half century at the Techno Classica. This model first introduced in spring 1964. A vehicle from 1966 from the ŠKODA Museum’s collection can be seen at the fair in Essen. As the first ŠKODA with rear wheel drive, rear engine and a unibody construction, the ŠKODA 1000 MB marked the beginning of a new ŠKODA era. The spacious five-door was one of the best vehicles in the one-litre class in its time and set new standards in terms of comfort, performance and technology. The 1000 MB strengthened ŠKODA’s position in the European automotive industry, and shaped the manufacturer's model strategy for many years. A total of around 443,156 ŠKODA 1000 MBs were produced between April 1964 and August 1969, more than half of which were exported, even as far as New Zealand and Australia.

An important representative of the later ŠKODA vehicles with a rear engine was the ŠKODA Rapid of the 1980s – a two-door coupé based on the 105/120 series. ŠKODA will be presenting a Rapid type 135 in Essen. The Rapid was powered by a 1.3 litre petrol engine with 43 hp. The vehicle featured a five-speed gearbox. A characteristic of the type 135 was the newly developed aluminium engine, which was later used in the ŠKODA Favorit.

The dozen ŠKODA milestones to be presented in Essen is completed by the ŠKODA Forman dating back to 1993. It will be about the estate version of the model ŠKODA Favorit, which was first presented in 1987 at the Engineering Fair in Brno. The Favorit first marked the development of a modern compact car concept with front-mounted engine, front drive, versatile interior and a large hatch. A total of around 1,000,000 of these vehicles ran off the production lines, as saloons, estates and pickups.